Civic engagement comes in many forms. Volunteering for causes we care about is one way in which we all have the power to shape our society. Meet members of Civic Life staff and the ways they bring their passion for civic life both within and outside of the Bureau.
Katherine Couch: Katherine began working for the City of Portland in 2011. She currently serves as the Assistant Program Specialist for the Noise Office within the Office of Community & Civic Life. Outside of her work, Katherine volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Association, which is committed to providing care, support, and research.
*Image description: Collage: top left: Katherine with friends holding a plaque, bottom left: Katherine with fellow volunteers with Senator Jeff Merkley, right: Katherine with fellow volunteers outside the Capitol. Right: Katherine with friends during Walk to End Alzheimer's. All images courtesy: Katherine Couch*
On volunteering: I volunteer for a couple of reasons. First, because my husband Mike was diagnosed with Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. This is a progressive, terminal disease, and the sixth leading cause of death in the US. Despite this, there are no drugs to halt or even slow the progression. Second, because this disease, if not halted, will break our Medicaid system. I’m determined to do what I can to end it. Each year, close to 1200 advocates come together for 3 days in Washington DC. There we learn, celebrate victories, and lobby our Senators and Representatives. Our efforts have yielded in an increase in research funding from around $500 million through National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2015 to over $2 billion a year. Mike and I also go to Salem each year to advocate for statewide support for families dealing with this disease.
Walk to End Alzheimer’s: We have a Walk to End Alzheimer’s team, Friends of Mike, that raises a significant amount of money every year. In 2018, our team received a plaque because we had several members who raised over $1,500 each.